Sticking to a Vision
To understand Randy Boudouris's MagnetNotes, imagine a magnetized Post-it Note sans glue. He worked nights in a factory and delivered pizza so he could spend his days in his neighbor's garage developing the idea. You can tear it, write on it, crumple it, and stick it on the fridge. On January 6, Boudouris signed a licensing deal to manufacture and distribute MagnetNotes globally--and then he framed the pen.
2004 FAST 50 WINNER
From Randy's original entry:
Tell us what you do and the specific challenge you faced.
On May 10th 1998 I was fired from my job as a print salesman in a dispute over the ownership of one of my inventions. Thirty days later I suffered a heart attack due to the stress of legal battles, building my dream house that I had saved my whole life for, and the realization that I was about to lose everything that I had worked for. Rather than wallow in self-pity I got busy developing another idea, a new way to make a less expensive magnet. I sold my house and most of my possesions, quit the job I had taken, and spent my days doing research and conducting experiments in my neighbor and business partner Ray Richard's garage. I worked nights delivering pizzas and did part time work in a plastics factory, so I could keep my days free to continue developing my technology.
What was your moment of truth?
When I first presented my idea to the magnetic industry I was told that what I was trying to accomplish could not be done. I heard so many no's that it made my head spin. I was told that there was no market for a low energy magnet. But somewhere deep inside, I felt such a strong conviction, that I dug my heels in and resolved that I would go to my grave if need be pursing my dream. In May of 2001, at a converting machinery show in Chicago, I met Don Albrecht, a former polymer chemist for 3M, and the current Technical Director for May Coating Technologies. Don was the first coating expert that felt my goal might be attainable. I gave him a sample of my "black coal", and three days later he called me to tell me he felt that my formulation could be coated with some work and improvment. After making samples at May coating, I raised $250,000 in August and continued my research.
What were the results?
After many sleeples nights, trials and errors, and financial hardships, a new technology to make paper thin magnets coated directly onto paper was perfected. It is approximatly 1/3rd the cost to manufacture and offers limitless possibilities for new products, from Magnetic Paper and EMI shielding to data storage. In January of 2003 MagnetNotes entered into a liscensing agreement with MeadWestvaco and gave them the manufacturing and distribution rights to North and South America, and the Caribbean Islands. We are also in discusscions with several Asian, and European companies and expect to negotiate smilar contracts by the end of 2004.
What's your parting tip?
Never, never, never, quit. Failure is not an option if you truly believe in your dream!!